UK Pro Bono to be Dismantled, Poses Risk

UK Pro Bono to be Dismantled, Poses Risk

UK Pro Bono to be Dismantled, Poses Risk 150 150 LegalEase Solutions

UK Pro Bono to be Dismantled, Poses Risk

Under new economic reforms in the UK, legal aid will see a big fall posing a risk to people in need of legal pro bono work. The gradual cuts started in 2014, culminating in this last big blow to the legal aid system, and placing many people in dire straits. [1]

One of the UK’s senior supreme court judges expressed his concern over the removal of legal aid in his home country, while addressing the audience at Northwestern University in Chicago. Lord Wilson presented a speech on September 25th 2018, going over important topics pertaining to both law and politics. He went over issues with the UK’s decision to do away with legal aid, which wouldn’t be the only part of social campaigns to be hit. The NHS (National Health Service) and social security would be dismantled alongside legal aid. [2]

The concept of legal aid was introduced in the UK almost 70 years ago, with the sole intent to assist people at a disadvantage to navigate the justice system. Qualified legal professionals would help them understand their rights, make informed decisions, offer free legal aid, and oftentimes represent them. [3] This included family law civil cases, and litigation. It provided the vulnerable section of society with the tools and people they needed for their legal battles.


In 2010, the Ministry of Justice controlled a £10.9bn budget to administer the courts, legal aid, prisons and probation service. For 2019-20 the budget is projected to be £6.38bn — a fall of more than 40 per cent. [4]

Unfortunately, due to the decisions taken by policymakers, access to justice will be hindered, spelling disaster for litigants representing themselves in court. Many people who represent themselves have little to no understanding of how the justice system works, which doesn’t end too well for them. Attorneys would seek to represent them but be forced to charge for their work, even if it is pro bono, under the new scheme.

The Legal Aid and Advice Act was designed “so that no one would be financially unable to prosecute a just and reasonable claim or defend a legal right”.

Unless the policies are changed and legal aid funded and backed by the governing bodies, it will be the weakest and most vulnerable who will suffer the consequences of a system that doesn’t provide. Until then, it will be up to pro bono attorneys to pick up the slack and assist the ones who are most in need of their legal aid.




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